EU Commission President denounces antisemitism in State of the European Union address - World Jewish Congress

EU Commission President denounces antisemitism in State of the European Union address

EU Commission President denounces antisemitism in State of the European Union address

(c) European Union Commission

In her first State of the European Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen denounced the growing trend of antisemitism and hatred across Europe, saying “hate is hate and no one should have to put up with it.” 

In her remarks, President von der Leyen referenced the antisemitic Aalst Carnival, rhetorically asking, “where is the essence of humanity when antisemitic carnival costumes openly parade on our streets? 

“Where is the essence of humanity when every single day Roma people are excluded from society and others are held back simply because of the color of their skin or their religious belief?” 

President von der Leyen also announced that the European Commission will release a plan to combat racism. The plan will strengthen racial equality laws, extend the list of EU-level crimes to include all forms of hate crime and hate speech, as well as create the position of an anti-racism coordinator. 

President von der Leyen’s remarks came shortly after the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a new report covering the current state of antisemitism. The report stated that European Union Member States are not bound to report or track antisemitic incidents, making it difficult to have a full understanding of the state of antisemitism and to form a cohesive national response to it.  

The World Jewish Congress has worked closely with the European Commission to combat antisemitism in Europe. Most recently WJC partnered with the European Commission, UNESCO and Twitter to launch the #ThinkBeforeSharing campaign. The initiative consists of comprehensive visual learning resources to raise awareness and combat conspiracy theories linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.